June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660
Diego Velazquez's "Christ Crucified" is a masterpiece. The painting is simple yet powerful; Christ, the moment after his death, his hair falling down his face, his wounds bleeding. He stands alone, alone on the wooden cross against the dark background; alone in his suffering, alone in his fate.
Or we would have wept if we were gentile; since we are Jews, we look at the painting, think to ourselves, "how many pictures of Jesus do we really need", and move along.
By now, you probably expect the punchline that Velazquez himself was a Jew. Not quite; a Jew would never paint THAT. However, Velazquez's father was a full-blooded Portuguese Jew, who, like many others at the time, was forced to convert. But, looking at the painting, it's quiet unlikely that any of that Judaism trickled down to Diego.
On the other hand, if you were secretly a Jew, and were trying to hide it in 17th century Spain, wouldn't you paint... THAT?
Verdict: Borderline Jew.
July 8, 2009